Harvey Weinstein trial: witness breaks down as defense digs into lack of proof

An attorney for Harvey Weinstein hammered a woman with questions Wednesday about the lack of forensic evidence that the movie magnate raped her in 2013.

“You don’t have any physical evidence to present to this jury that any of this happened, do you?” lawyer Alan Jackson asked pointedly during cross-examination.

“Any photos?” Jackson asked.

“No,” the woman answered.

“Any video?”

“No,” she replied, then added, “Do you think somebody after rape makes a video?”

She cried while answering “no” to a series of similar questions about whether she had any documentation of bruises, scrapes, cuts, or handprints on her face from Weinstein holding her down, or had been given a sexual assault examination.

“Do you have any physical evidence that you were even with Mr Weinstein?” Jackson asked. Her crying grew louder as she answered, “I had his jacket, but I gave it away.”

She maintains that Weinstein left her jacket in the room and she gave it to hotel staff, but no lost-and-found records have been discovered to demonstrate it.

The woman, a model and actor who was working in Rome, is the the first of Weinstein’s accusers to testify at the trial and spent portions of three days on the witness stand.

She described the alleged rape in emotional testimony on Tuesday, saying that it left her wanting to “destroy” herself. She said Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on her hotel bed. “I was kind of hysterical through tears,” she said. “I kept saying ‘no, no no.’”

Prosecutors have presented photographs and other evidence that both Weinstein and the woman were at the Los Angeles Italia Film Festival, which she had come to California to attend in February 2013. But they have not yet produced anything that puts Weinstein at her hotel on the night she says he forced her to perform oral sex on her bed then raped her in her bathroom.

The woman did not go to police until October 2017, when an outpouring of rape and sexual assault accusations against Weinstein made him the central figure in the #MeToo movement.

She has denied that she was influenced by those stories to go to the police and that she had decided to file a reporter earlier that year at the urging of her teenage daughter.

The woman is going only by “Jane Doe 1” in court. Her age and birthplace have also been kept out of court proceedings, though she has said her first language was Russian and she was living at the time with her three children in Italy.

Weinstein’s defense tried to poke holes in her testimony and press on inconsistencies in previous accounts she gave to police, to prosecutors, to a grand jury, and in the first two days of her trial testimony.

The woman told prosecutor Paul Thompson that she had been having panic attacks and had hardly slept or eaten since her testimony began on Monday afternoon. It finally ended late on Wednesday.

Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of rape and sexual assault involving five women. Multiple women are set to testify about Weinstein’s alleged crimes, including Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a documentary filmmaker and actor who is now married to the governor of California, Gavin Newsom.

The disgraced film producer is already serving a 23-year sentence after being convicted of sex crimes in New York in February 2020.

The Associated Press contributed reporting

source: theguardian.com